Friday, July 02, 2004

MORE HIGH-END DISCOUNTS: Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is slicing 50 percent off published fares with its Silver Sailings program on both 12-day Empire of the Incas cruises aboard Silver Shadow this fall. On two identical voyages departing from Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica (Oct. 7 and Nov. 22), the 382-guest Silver Shadow visits Esmeraldas and Manta, Ecuador; Salaverry, Peru; and Callao, before returning to Puerto Caldera. Each cruise offers a two-night optional land excursion to the ruins of Machu Picchu during the ship’s call in Callao, Lima’s port city. Cost of the Machu Picchu tour is $1,765 per person, double, and $1,995, single. This tour option can be purchased when booking the cruise. Cruise-only Silver Sailing fares with the 50 percent savings start at $2,835 on the Oct. 7 sailing and $3,085 on the Nov. 22 cruise.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

LET’S MAKE THIS CRYSTAL CLEAR: While unveiling its 2005 Cruise Atlas, Crystal Cruises has cut fares for most destinations on its luxury line-up. New fares are lower –- up to 38 percent lower -- than what’s reflected in the 146-page Atlas detailing the line’s 95 sailings, and combine with deals for the past guest Crystal Society. In recent years, the line -- like competitors -- has discounted fares through ever-changing tactical offers, often creating a jumble of consumer confusion. Now a clearer, more compelling message targets savvy travelers: Reductions apply for Crystal Harmony’s 2005 cruises to the Mexican Riviera and Alaska, Crystal Symphony’s Caribbean and Panama Canal sailings (plus a few Baltic and New England / Canada cruises), Crystal Serenity's Mediterranean programs and the 2005 World Cruise. The Atlas has a Theme Cruise section and a World Cruise section, showcasing gifts, amenities and hoopla for the line’s 10th annual grand voyage and its six segments. So far, the line reports bookings are up 25 percent from this time last year. To order the Atlas, call (800) 820-6663.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

A TAD MORE ALASKA: For anyone short on time but hot for tastes of Alaska, Holland America has just tacked on a five-day round-trip Alaska adventure to its 2004 schedule. The late-breaking getaway aboard the 1,258-passenger Ryndam departs Friday, Sept. 24 from Vancouver, and is being touted as ideal for a long-weekend getaway or for first-timers wanting to sample a premium cruise experience. Calls are in Sitka, showcasing Native American and Russian czarist-era culture, and Ketchikan, built on trestles, docks and pilings at water's edge. Outside staterooms start at $589, double and vacations can be extended with pre / post-cruise tour packages in Vancouver. In 2004, the line’s 13 ships offer nearly 500 sailings from 15 North American home ports, including 139 Alaskan cruises.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

TAMPA'S REALLY SMOKIN': Next winter, Royal Caribbean brings a bigger ship to the Port of Tampa, more than doubling its cruise traffic of late. In fact, passenger counts are up by 230 percent over the past five years. The 1,800-passenger Splendour of the Seas will sail seven-night western Caribbean itineraries from November to April, replacing the smaller Empress of the Seas, redeploying for Bermuda sailings out of New Jersey and Caribbean itineraries from San Juan. Tampa’s larger Vision-class ship, known for extensive use of glass, now has more whistles and bells including a rock-climbing wall. Arriving Nov. 27 after summer sailings from Barcelona, the ship will call at Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Belize City and Cozumel. Among shore options are snorkeling with stingrays, off-roading in dune buggies, and kayaking the Belize River.

Monday, June 28, 2004

GANGPLANKS GO GANGBUSTERS: Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades topped its waterborne commerce / revenue projections by 7.4 percent for the first six months of fiscal 2004 (Oct. 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004) and reports an actual dollar increase of 18.2 percent from the prior year. Revenue climbed nearly $9 million (from $48,860,597 in FY03 to $57,742,683 in FY04) exceeding a forecast of $53,742,312. Port honchos point to cruise growth, with passenger counts increasing by 29 percent in the year’s first half from 1,929,663 in FY03 to 2,489,429 in FY04. Cruise revenues increased by 26.5 percent over the prior year at $19,553,010 in the first half of FY04 compared to $15,454,787 for the same period in FY03. Helping propel things: A new daily vessel, St. Tropez, and other newbuilds including Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, Costa’s Mediterranea, Holland America’s Oosterdam, MSC’s Lirica, PrincessCaribbean Princess, and RSSC’s Seven Seas Voyager. Broward County’s port also snagged unanticipated revenue from seven ships repositioning from the Port of Miami during November’s Free Trade Area of the Americas summit.